Five top-quality national crews will compete from 25 August to 7 September 2017 in a 1,000-nautic-mile offshore race from Kiel to St. Petersburg - via Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. Under the motto "Connecting Baltics through Sport", their high-tech Club Swan 50 yachts will retrace a route through the Baltic Sea that has been followed by sailors for centuries. Since the Middle Ages there has been a strong flow of maritime trade through the Baltic Sea, both materially and culturally, with an enthusiastic exchange of goods ranging from food to luxury items. Today the route of the Nord Stream Race follows the Nord Stream Pipeline, which gave the regatta its name. Nord Stream AG and Gazprom support the Nord Stream Race, which is organized each year by the prestigious Saint Petersburg Yacht Club.
Each of the cities on the Nord Stream route has its own history, its own character and its own unique language. But what connects and bonds each of these cities together is their strong maritime tradition. This heritage is preserved in the large yacht clubs, both old and new. Its members and their guests still experience the autumnal challenges of the Baltic Sea as did those adventurous traders of centuries past: the often stormy sea, sometimes unpredictable weather changes and the demand for detailed and expert navigational skills.
On a course that unites Kiel with St. Petersburg, five top teams start with equal chances
The five teams from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia have qualified as winners of their National Sailing Leagues for the Nord Stream Race. Over the course of a long season they had to prove their sailing excellence on inland and coastal waters. Now they must leave behind their finely honed skills on the small, J/70 keelboats to learn the demands of the much larger and faster Club Swan 50. It will be a steep learning curve. Instead of short races lasting just a few minutes, they must prepare themselves for hours, days and nights of endless concentration. However, one thing the Club Swan 50s have in common with the J/70s is that the boats are pure one-design. There are no equipment advantages, because the boats are absolutely identical; All teams have equal opportunity to win. This is all about the sailors.
50ft Power Boat
The Club Swan 50 may be suitable for weekend cruising but she is also a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Winner of multiple Volvo Ocean Races, Argentinean designer Juan Kouyoumdjian has incorporated many of the lessons from the ocean-going Volvo Open 70 into this powerful 50-footer: twin rudders, a no-compromise bowsprit, a deck-stepped three-spreader carbon mast, and square-topped mainsail. At less than 8,400kg, these boats are stiff, light and naturally quick, but the crew will have to work hard and smart to get the very last tenth of a knot’s boatspeed out of the CS50. These young sailors will learn a lot during the course of this tough offshore race.
Guest yacht clubs: royal splendour and proud citizenship
Tired from the challenging, long legs on deck of their fast but ever-demanding racing yachts, the sailors will recover in the luxury of the yacht clubs, the co-organisers of the Nord Stream Race. Their buildings and customs echo the great maritime tradition of the Baltic countries, whether with the opulent glamour and stylish furnishings of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (Stockholm) or the modern architecture of the Royal Danish Yacht Club (Copenhagen) and the cultured simplicity of Helsingfors Segelklubb (Helsinki). The lavish and welcoming receptions for the sailors by these clubs couldn’t be in greater contrast to the hardships of life at sea, with freeze-dried food and rationed water. But the onshore hospitality is every much as part of the Baltic maritime tradition as those tougher moments at sea.
After the celebrations in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki the sportsmen will put away their blazers again and back into their hi-tech offshore sailing gear for the final stage to Russia. There, at St. Petersburg Yacht Club on the 7th of September, they will come together to applaud the crew that proved to be master of the Baltic Sea at the final prizegiving and gala dinner.
During the course of the event, the participating yacht clubs Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and Kiel Yacht Club (Kiel), Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub (Copenhagen), Kungliga Svenska Segelsälls-kapet (Stockholm) and Helsingfors Segelklub (Helsinki) invite the crews to a variety of cultural events. For the finish, the elite of European sailing will gather one final time for the closing ceremony at Saint Petersburg Yacht Club, one of the leading yacht clubs in Europe.